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Becoming The Best Boss Lady You Can Be

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I’ve worked at the City of Jacksonville for five years now, and my career has grown exponentially in that time. I definitely do NOT have all of the answers, but I do think there are some things I’ve learned along the way that can help you grow into the bad ass boss lady you want to be!

A little background…

I graduated from the University of North Florida (SWOOP!) in 2008 with a degree in Public Relations, and I guess I couldn’t get enough of it because I went back and completed my Master’s of Public Administration in 2012.

I always thought I would use my PR skills at a nonprofit and even interned at Hubbard House, which was very rewarding. As I went back to school I really starting to gain a huge interest in politics and even had my plan to run for president rolling at one point. So naturally when I graduated in 2012, I packed my bags and moved to Upstate New York where I worked as a Finance Director on a political campaign. I was drawn to this position because it meant I would be planning and hosting fundraisers and sending out all of the communications around fundraising. The bonus was I got a fast track course on campaign finance, FEC reporting and lots more!

A bit after I was back I learned through an old classmate about a position opening up at the City of Jacksonville’s budget office and went for it. To anyone interested in the world of government finance this is definitely the place to start. The budget office touches everything and you learn so much so fast, but it’s also a really cool way to see the inter workings of local government. From there I have continued learning and growing, and now I am the CFO at the Property Appraiser’s Office.

Here are some of my Do’s & Don’ts to becoming the best boss lady you can be:

  • DO Present yourself professionally: It’s easy to want to be our “out of work” selves while at work, but make sure you are presenting yourself in a way that shows others your talents and gets you taken seriously. For example, I like to curse but I don’t at work because I want to be known for my ideas not for my off kilter language!
  • DON’T – Think “I’m a peon so no one is paying attention”: People are ALWAYS paying attention! I’ve been offered jobs or collaborations with people I’ve only met once or twice in meetings because of how I’ve presented myself. Your work reputation will follow you for your career, so be aware of it.
  • DO – Keep pushing yourself and keep learning: No matter how good you are at what you do there is always more to learn. I am a big fan of continuing education!
  • DON’T – Become complacent: You may be good at what you do and receive exemplary reviews, but we stop growing when we stop learning.
  • DO – Speak up and share your ideas: Don’t be afraid to share your great ideas! Sometimes your ideas will take off and other times they will fizzle, but speak up and share. We get so much further by collaborating and bouncing ideas off of one another.
  • DON’T – Feel like you always have to chime in: On the other hand don’t speak up just for the sake of speaking. You don’t want to be the person who just chimes in to hear them self speak or to feel important. Make sure your contributions are actually adding to the conversation being had.
  • DO – Build relationships and use others as a resource: One of the biggest contributions to my success are the relationships I have built. Don’t be afraid to call someone to ask questions or to research when you don’t have the answers. Bounce ideas off of people you’ve met in professional groups, or reach out to those in areas which are not your expertise when you need advisement.
  • DON’T – Take advantage or become reliant on others: On the same note don’t always call someone because you know they’ll give you the answers/solutions you need. Use resources but don’t become reliant on other people to do your job.
  • DO – Learn from your mistakes: You will make a ton, we all do! Mistakes at work are a given, so use them to make you stronger. Learn from them, reflect on them, grow from them!
  • DON’T – Shut down from constructive criticism: There will be tons of this while you’re growing your career. Some will be warranted and some may not be, but always listen to it and see what you can take away from it.
  • DO – Build your team members up: A boss is only as strong as the team behind them. Make sure if you are growing a team to help each member be their best. If you’re an individual contributor, make sure you are being a strong team member and supporting a culture of thriving together.
  • DON’T – View yourself as higher/more important than your team: Leadership requires the mindset that you are a part of the team not just managing the team. Be willing to do anything that you’d ask someone reporting to you to do!
  • DO – Play to your strengths: We all know our strengths, so make sure you let them shine!
  • DON’T – Lose your personality at work: You don’t have to be a stiff bore at work. There is room for your personality, while being in a professional environment. We spend most of our week at our jobs, so have fun with it!
  • DO – Dress for the job you want: You know we aren’t getting out of here without speaking to fashion! Use your wardrobe to present yourself how you’d like to be portrayed. Use fashion to boost your presence!

I hope you take a little something from my tips, and keep rocking those workplaces ladies!!!

XO, Kat

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